The Universe and Me

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Nursery crimes

Innovative author Jasper Fforde has started what appears to be a second series of books, this one based on characters in nursery rhymes. His newest book, The Big Over Easy, has some familiar names investigating the cause of Humpty Dumpty’s fall off the famous wall (not Pink Floyd’s.) I have three novels to read before I get to this one, but am looking forward to it as I’ve appreciated his literary parallel universe in the Thursday Next series. The use of the phrase “nursery crime” makes me, a Genesis fan from way back, wonder if he lifted the idea from their Nursery Cryme album which depicts a child’s croquet game gone amiss. Gabriel used to tell stories before the songs during their concerts. The story about the song “The Musical Box” was printed on the liner notes as:

While Henry Hamilton-Smythe minor (8) was playing croquet with Cynthia Jane De Blaise-William (9), sweet-smiling Cynthia raised her mallet high and gracefully removedHenry's head. Two weeks later, in Henry's nursery, she discovered his treasured musical box. Eagerly she opened it and as "Old King Cole" began to play a small spirit-figureappeared. Henry had returned - But not for long, for as he stood in the room his body began ageing rapidly, leaving a child's mind inside. A lifetime's desires surged through him. Unfortunately the attempt to persuade Cynthia Jane to fulfil his romantic desire led his nurse to the nursery to investigate the noise. Instinctively Nanny hurled the musical box at the bearded child, destroyed both.


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